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"To understand the text of a book, the reader must try to comprehend the
ego and intentions of the author. In hypertext, the roles are reversed,
and this is the essential intellectual challenge for the authors. The
logic and organization is created by the user as he or she reads and
interacts with the database." (Staninger 1994, p.51)
"... we can say that hypertext was conceived in 1945, born in the 1960s,
and slowly nurtured in the 1970s, and finally entered the real world in
the 1980s with an especially rapid growth after 1985, culminating in a
fully established field during 1989." (Nielsen, 1990, p.41)
"To understand the text of a book, the reader must try to comprehend the ego and intentions of the author. In hypertext, the roles are reversed, and this is the essential intellectual challenge for the authors. The logic and organization is created by the user as he or she reads and interacts with the database." (Staninger 1994, p.51)
"... we can say that hypertext was conceived in 1945, born in the 1960s, and slowly nurtured in the 1970s, and finally entered the real world in the 1980s with an especially rapid growth after 1985, culminating in a fully established field during 1989." (Nielsen, 1990, p.41)
Hypertext is a non-sequential form of composing and writing. It therefore provides choices for the reader as to how to navigate such text. While the organization of regular, sequential text may be based on a multitude of criteria and dimensions, the final product freezes the presentation into a single, sequential chain of paragraphs and chapters. The author is in charge, the reader either accepts this "first-to-last-page" organization, or has to resort to an ad-hoc "hyper-reading" style by jumping from page to page along a string tailored with the help of table of contents, indices, previous notes and luck.
In addition, footnotes have in the past served hypertextual functions. We could cite many examples of books with individual pages on which footnotes took more space than the regular text. Publishers and printers were loath to accept such print-setting complications and, it seemed, engaged in a conspiracy during the 1970s and 80s to stamp them out. Maybe it were these "footnotes-discouraging" letters we received from our editors during this time which made us aware of the limitations of linear writing.
A strict definition of "hypertext", of course, would not just stress the negative, i.e. its non-sequential nature, but attempt to articulate the new organizing elements replacing the single sequence. Terms and concepts we would expect to find in a more positive, descriptive definition of hypertext would be "structure", "system", "network", "link" and "nodes". It seems that most hypertextual writers accept hyper-organizational styles slowly and learn as they go, expanding their compositions from a single node along a variety of initially disjointed, later increasingly interconnected trajectories, eventually reaching a point where the emerging complexity demands a more deliberate approach to organization.
Network-analytical concepts provide a convenient starting point for any author's attempt to recognize, improve upon, and communicate order in a hypertextual system and thereby help readers to navigate the system. (Halasz, as referenced in Nielsen, 1990, p.3) Flexibility and complexity attributes help further to conceptualize and understand hypertextual systems, particularly taking the user's vantage point.
Horn (1989) has suggested to "map" hypertextual systems as part of a "methodology for analyzing, organizing, writing, sequencing, and formatting information to improve communication." This Information Mapping Method of Structured Writing "provides a way of describing the structure of subject matters that is very useful throughout the communication process".
Quotes: (Internet Use)
"The Internet has an extremely short attention span and its many users roam restlessly from one end of the Web to the other. We wanted to put something on the Net that develops at an organic, instead of electronic speed". (Ken Goldberg, 'robotics specialist' at USC; Seattle Times, August 6, 1995, p.C2, a brief report on a Web program which "lets you program a robotic arm to tend to a real garden", see Tele-Garden.
"...hypertext does have its critics. Too much choice, it is argued, confuses and encourages superficial and aimless browsing. Users can miss important information or vital cognitive steps." (Ellis, Ford & Wood, 1993, p.13)
Writings of Don Berry [Vashon Island]
Text and Hypertext (Fall 2000) [Bibliography]
History of the Internet & WWW
HyperTerrorist's Timeline of Hypertext History [www.mcs.net/~jorn/html/net/timeline.html] [disconnected 4/02]
http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/citysites/ CitySites: Editors: Maria Balshaw, Anna Notaro , Liam Kennedy and Douglas Tallack, University of Birmingham Press, 2000
Eastgate Hypertext Software (Storyspace etc.)
The Victorian Web
More Examples: See Literature (below)
Hypertext at the University of Washington:
H. van den Bosch, J. Bolluyt, The use of hypertext in the writing of group papers, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 17, Issue 4, Page 355, Dec 2001
Other Hypertext Servers and Resources:
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